MoFo Nabs Top FCPA Prosecutor Charles Duross
Charles Duross, who left his post as the U.S. Department of Justice's chief Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcer last Friday, is joining Morrison & Foerster to lead the firm's global anticorruption practice. MoFo broke the news on Monday, announcing that Duross will begin practicing in the firm's Washington, D.C., office on Feb. 17.
Duross told us Monday morning that he talked to about a half-dozen law firms before choosing Morrison & Foerster, though he declined to name names. He said he was drawn to MoFo by the firm's reputation, global reach and strong white-collar practice.
"These are people who have gone into a courtroom and won real trials," Duross said.
In his new practice Duross will head a team of about 35 lawyers, including 20 partners, who regularly do FCPA compliance, investigations and defense work. Ethics rules bar Duross from working on any matter that he oversaw while in the government, and for one year he's also prohibited from working on any matter he indirectly supervised during his tenure at the DOJ. (That's not nearly long enough for some critics.)
Three separate law firm studies released this month predicted that FCPA prosecutions and related enforcement efforts overseas will continue to grow at a healthy clip this year. Duross said he agrees. In a speech for the American Conference Institute last year, Duross said he he expects the government to bring more "top 10 quality" FCPA cases in 2014. In 2013, according to a recent report from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the average corporate FCPA settlement cost companies more than $80 million, including a $398 million deal involving Total SA.
Duross pointed to the appointment of Patrick Stokes as his successor at the DOJ as a sign that the agency will continue to make antibribery enforcement a priority. Stokes has been leading Justice's efforts to hold banks accountable for alleged manipulations of the LIBOR and foreign exchange benchmarks.
"He's sort of a prosecutor's prosecutor," Duross said. "I think that means we're in for more of the same in terms of making foreign bribery enforcement a priority."